Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    ESL101 Guest

    Default Could you vs. Can you?

    1) Could you please help me with this?
    2) Can you please help me with this?

    Which one is correct? I've heard people use the first one a lot but why should you use Past Tense when asking someone to do something?

  2. #2
    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    16,570
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Could you vs. Can you?

    It's not past tense in that case. It's just a polite way of making a request.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Philippines
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    43,322
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    With the modals, past tense does not mean past time necessarily. We use it to create a distance (social) between ourselves and the person we are talking to. This is probably because we don'y have two, or more, forms for the second person pronouns.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •